This is What Dry January Does to Your Body for the Rest of the Year

After all the holidays where wine, beer, and other alcoholic drinks are often consumed in abundance, many people participate in dry January. An initiative where you don't drink alcohol for a month. How does a month of not drinking affect your body for the rest of the year?

Breaking a pattern

It's not surprising that your body benefits from not drinking alcohol for a month. It makes your body fitter, you lose weight more easily and it improves your sleep rhythm. But above all, breaking a pattern is an important reason to "go dry" for a month.

"You live your life, alcohol, and drinking are part of that. Unconsciously you drink in a pattern and only once you stop drinking once can you recognize and break that pattern."

In doing so, quitting drinking often provides new insights. "You find out that drinking on some occasions was not necessary at all. In addition, you learn to say no better which makes you feel firmer and more mentally stable."

Consequences of Dry January

Even when Dry January is over and you are 'allowed' to drink again you can notice the positive effects of temporarily stopping alcohol. Research shows that on average you drink less in the following months. According to Rob Bovens, co-initiator of IkPas and senior researcher at Tilburg University, that effect can even last six months.


Should you be afraid of overcompensating in February for all the drinks you missed in January? No, says van Bovens. "It's not like there's a yo-yo effect like there is after quitting a diet, for example." You've already broken the fixed pattern and taught yourself a new one. After Dry January, people drink at least 50 percent less than before and that has a good impact in both the long and short term.